Brasília, December 11, 2021: The Summit for Democracy, which concluded yesterday, was an important moment for democratic nations to speak in one voice in support of democracy, freedom, and human rights. History demonstrates–and many studies conclude– that societies that respect and defend democratic institutions, the rule of law, gender equality, human rights and fundamental freedoms are more stable, prosperous, and secure, and are better equipped to confront global challenges. Democracies require constant work, but by learning together, standing together, and acting together, democracies can meet and outpace the challenges of our age.
At the Summit, the United States took crucial actions to further strengthen our democracy and others around the world:
- We announced the establishment of the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, a landmark set of policy and foreign assistance initiatives centered on five areas of work crucial to the functioning of transparent, accountable governance:
- Supporting Free and Independent Media
- Fighting Corruption
- Bolstering Democratic Reformers
- Advancing Technology for Democracy
- Defending Free and Fair Elections and Political Processes
In the coming year, the United States is planning to provide up to $424.4 million toward the Presidential Initiative.
- We recognized 2021’s Anticorruption Champions, individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption around the globe.
- We announced the largest commitment by any government to the recently launched International Fund for Public Interest Media, an innovative new initiative that provides assistance to at-risk independent news outlets, and is administered by an inclusive group of independent journalists, media, and financial experts.
- We announced the launch of the Media Viability Accelerator, which will bring together media outlets, business advisory groups, and the private sector to make independent press outlets more sustainable by focusing on data sharing, technical assistance, and financial services. Within the United States, similar programs will support newsrooms and increase access to independent journalism.
- We announced the establishment a new liability fund to provide financial support for reporters and news organizations that are targeted with litigation as a result of their reporting.
As President Joe Biden stated at the Summit, “Democracy doesn’t happen by accident. We have to renew it with each generation. And this is an urgent matter on all our parts…Autocrats…seek to advance their own power, export and expand their influence around the world, and justify their repressive policies and practices as a more efficient way to address today’s challenges. That’s how it’s sold. We stand at an inflection point in our history…The choices we make, in my view, in the next — in this moment are going to fundamentally determine the direction our world is going to take in the coming decades.”
President Biden’s call to action reminds us that democracies do not develop by accident, on their own, or without tremendous work and commitment. Nations cannot claim to support democratic values while profoundly restricting their people’s fundamental rights and freedoms.
The United States will continue to stand with Brazil as it exercises and hones its democratic processes. And I am confident that Brazil will stand by the United States and other democratic nations as we face our own challenges and opportunities to create better, more inclusive, and freer societies. As two of the world’s largest and most vibrant democracies, our countries and our people have the responsibility to support democratic principles and practices everywhere. As we push forward a positive vision and resist the advances and efforts of non-democratic actors, we can help those aspiring for these same rights and values around the world.